23/01/2023No Comments

Copywriter vs The Machine

What AI writing means for marketing

By now, you’ve probably heard about some of the amazing new AI chatbots popping up across the internet. As a result, plenty of headlines have emerged, claiming this AI is the beginning of the end for copywriters, paralegals and more.

As a copywriter myself, you might assume that I’d view tools like ChatGPT as the metal devil, an insidious tool here to tear my job away from me. However, let’s be realistic. While AI writing has come a long way in a short space of time, in my opinion, we’re still a long way from it being able to do everything as well as a human can.

So, where does AI shine, and where does it struggle in comparison to humans?

How can businesses make the best use of it?

Let’s answer that question in a way the machines of the future will understand. A head-to-head versus match. Two will enter, one will leave.

Creative concepts

As far as copywriting goes, concepts and new ideas are the main event. From short overarching headlines to brand tone of voice, this is the area where we primarily earn our keep.

And it’s a strong start for the humans. While AI like ChatGPT has proven itself capable of generating certain options from an uploaded brief, it doesn’t have the lateral thinking or creativity to quite make the grade, just yet. Think I’m alone in this opinion? Just ask Nick Cave.

Winner: Human

Asset development

The initial concept has been approved, now it’s time to turn that idea into social posts, eBooks, video scripts and more. Let the hard work begin.

There are two types of humans to consider when evaluating this section; the ones who worked on the initial concept, and the ones who didn’t.

If a human has worked on the initial creative concept, they’ll be in a great position to get going. They’ll already be familiar with the idea, and they’ll be able to quickly produce assets that all share the same tone and overarching purpose.

All of this can be true for a human who hasn’t worked on the initial concept, it just might take a little longer to get things sounding consistent.

So, what about AI?

ChatGPT has proven itself to be a capable asset developer. However, it’s worth remembering that these assets will need to be, at the very least, checked by humans. More likely, they’ll need to be edited to ensure they do what they’re supposed to.



We all make mistakes. We also become so familiar with our own work, it’s sometimes hard to see them. That’s why proofreading is so important. It allows people to spot errors and inconsistencies that might otherwise be missed. The problem is humans get distracted. That means things get missed, and errors slip through the net. On the upside, humans can use lateral thinking and varying interpretations to make suggestions for improvement, rather than simple error identification. That’s before you take their knowledge of brand, client preferences and previous work into account.

So, how does AI get on here? Well, there should be fewer typos off the bat. However, there could still be a few bits of weirdness that need to be dealt with. Maybe a phrase that’s a little awkward, or a sentence that doesn’t work very well.

But in general, ChatGPT excels here. It can spot errors in everything from computer code to prose. That, in turn, makes lives significantly easier for the humans working with it.

Winner: AI

The conclusion?

It probably comes as no surprise to you when I say that no, copywriting is not dead.

ChatGPT has grabbed a lot of headlines recently and there’s no denying it’s an astonishingly capable tool, but at the moment, it’s more of an assistant to copywriters than our replacement.

Think of it this way. Autopilot is a massively capable and reliable tool that helps planes fly exactly where they need to. It doesn’t make mistakes and it doesn’t get tired. But would you get on a plane that didn’t have a pilot?

Copywriting obviously doesn’t carry the same risks. However, your business’ reputation is on the line.

Would you really put out content AI had produced without at least checking it first?

Would you trust it to make decisions about how your business looks to the world, or how you present yourself?

In most cases, the answer is no. And while this might change in the future, for now, human intuition is still #1 for most people. And in a profession as subjective as copywriting, intuition is everything.

Sorry ChatGPT. You’re a brilliant assistant that will make lives easier, but until you go full Skynet and start the nuclear apocalypse, the writer is in charge.

05/11/2021No Comments

(other) People power

How to use marketing’s cheapest winning strategy.

Most people consider themselves independent thinkers, unmoved by the behaviours and decisions of others. We believe the choices we make are our own. Because we’re smart and in control.

Behavioural science often proves the opposite. People are constantly buffeted by biases and subconscious influences that affect their choices in any moment.

To take a simple example, a hotel tested two alternative messages left in rooms to convince guests to reuse their towels. The first provided the environmental argument for reuse. The second just stated that most people reused their towels.

The second message improved towel reuse by 26% compared to the first.

Note that the second message didn’t say why people had reused their towels – just that they did. The only motivation for people to reuse was the perceived behaviour of others.

This is an example of social proof. Simply, that means people are positively influenced by the behaviour of the herd. It’s a non-rational instinct that when we see lots of other humans doing something, it’s likely a safe or profitable course of action. And it governs our actions more reliably than any logical thought process.

So, while you may be smart, you’re certainly not in control.

How to use social proof

Shout about yourself

If you’re able to show that people are choosing your brand or product, then it’s valuable to do so overtly. Decision-makers seek out what has been tried and tested. This then helps them define a range of options that feel less risky, as others are choosing them and (hopefully) not getting fired for it.

Never assume audiences already know about your market position or great customer successes – talk about it.

Consider the sales environment

In B2B, solutions are identified, considered, and bought by groups. There’s typically a single point of final sign off, but you expect people to discuss solutions with others.

Take a sales meeting. There might be one or two people there that you absolutely must convince of your offering. But there might be other people who, despite not having the same buying power, might be more receptive to what you’re selling. Perhaps you have an existing relationship with them, or they were the people who got you in the room in the first place.

Those advocates can be hugely valuable in helping to build consensus in the room for your product or service. Including and equipping anyone who may contribute in your favour can help to reduce scepticism in the people who will make the final decision.

Add a pinch of salience

Social proof isn’t an isolated effect. The extent to which people will be convinced by a message depends on many things, including other behavioural biases and contexts. But one way to give your message a guaranteed boost is to add points of salience.

Take a generalised message: “65% of small businesses use Dodo HR software every day”. Add in a salient piece of information about your target role: “65% of operations leaders use Dodo HR software every day”. The result is more relatable and human, but it’s also more targeted to the group you want the audience to emulate.

Convince a creative

It’s easy for writers to sneer at social proof. It’s too boastful and simplistic, too lazy. It’s boring to write headlines like “78% of customers chose Brand X”.

But like it or not, telling customers that you’re a popular pick with their peers works. It stirs their primitive impulse to follow the decisions of others who have tested the option and survived.

The simplicity of social proof needn’t be a temptation to produce mundane creative either. Stating a stat, like the example above, is only one basic expression of the concept. There are plenty of ways to communicate popularity that don’t rely on blaring facts.

A story

Case studies are great. They allow people to tell their own stories, making solutions and results more relatable. They also offer the opportunity to include plenty of contextual detail, which increases salience for particular audiences, improving effectiveness. Not to mention the variety of formats available to this tactic, whether filmed interviews, infographics or animated storytelling.

A free trial

Perhaps you have a brand new product, or your solution doesn’t yet have a market share to encourage widespread adoption. Offering the goods to people for free is a great way to make potential customers more receptive to seeing the best side of the offering. It also gives you a chance to create and share real-world examples of it working that don’t rely on decades of building your brand and customer base.

An advocate

Making a beeline for the primary decision-maker in your target organisation might feel like the most direct route to success. But take the time to find other people who can endorse your solution, or shout about what great work your business does. Consensus is critical, and hard to obtain.

Never think social proof is too boring or basic to use in your campaigns. Find ways to prove that what you’re doing for your customers works, and shout about it. Treat social proof models as a starting point for creative briefs, and set people the task of bringing this simple, basic tactic to life.

Everybody else is doing it, after all.

If you’d like to learn or share more about how we can influence behaviour to grow your business, get in touch at tomw@tmwunlimited.com

03/11/2021No Comments

What are you trying to prove?

Why you shouldn’t just throw a stat in.

B2B marketing likes its data. White papers, e-books, blogs… you name it, you’ll find stats in there propping the content up. At least, that’s what businesses think they do.

“95% of businesses agree that using stats in their marketing copy makes it more compelling.”

Okay, I made that up, but it’s probably true. And I mean it sounds good, doesn’t it? So, people are bound to find it relatable. And hell, I’m sure they grasp it. Right? Guys…? Anyone?

We see stats being used all the time by governments, charities, banks, beauty and cosmetics companies – to name a few. But unless they’re meaningful, they won’t take your message very far.

Here are three tips for using stats in your marketing content:

The Truth Factor

Above, that 95% I made up is probably close to the truth. After all, what company would disagree? But there’s a reason why businesses include disclaimers in their ads. You know the type – six out of eight saw instant results. Underneath, there’s that tiny writing that says something like ‘64 people took part in a survey and 48 agreed they saw an improvement very soon afterward.’

If only that many agreed to a similar sort of statement – is it really a truthful claim? And what exactly is it an improvement of? Slightly cleaner hair? Looking a bit less hungover in the morning?

I mean, it’s never worked for me but that’s not really the point. Empty statements or misrepresented ‘facts’ won’t do much to boost your offering. People will see it as a fake news alert. So, check the truth factor of your stat. Better yet, interrogate it. Especially for your more cynical readers. But before we get too stuck into empirical truths, let’s move on…

Avoid the Dub Effect

As the saying goes, ask an obvious question and you’ll get an obvious answer. And possibly a cringe. Here’s (another) one I made up earlier:

“80% of people said they preferred working for a company with clear pay increments.”

Well, duh. Who would look at that and think “gosh, that’s a surprise”? With stats like this, you’re not telling your audience something new. In fact, you’re kind of insulting their intelligence. You might think it sounds good, but it’s not really adding anything.

If you use a stat, it’s got to be meaningful. Stats shouldn’t be used for quick wins – they should add value to the subject of the piece and add weight to the argument. And if it doesn’t – get rid.

The Two R's: Readable & Relatable

Now, I know I’ve warned you against staying away from the ‘duh effect’. But it’s also important not to overcomplicate things. You’ve probably heard the quote, “if you can’t explain it to your grandmother, you don’t understand it.”

You might read a stat that confuses you. Especially if there are multiple ways to interpret it. Like, “85% of the people we asked about this thing in this way would rather not have it in this context.” WTF does that even mean?

Stats shouldn’t be so niche that they need dissecting to understand. Nor should they form a tenuous link back to what you’re telling your audience. So, choose each fact carefully. It should resonate with the reader. They should read it and think “yeah, I get that.”

And to be relatable, it needs to be readable. Make sure it’s concise, clear, and in plain English – wherever possible. The copy around it can do the job of elaboration.


To sum up, stats can be a powerful addition to marketing copy. And they have an impact. But only when they are truthful, meaningful, easy to understand, and relevant. So, if you have a killer stat that ticks all those boxes, you should – 100% – throw it in.

Want to talk about your marketing content and how best to sprinkle it with stats? Get in touch at lucyd@tmwunlimited.com